The first batch of record-breaking Team Nigeria’s athletes that won 12 gold, nine silver and 14 bronze medals at the just-concluded Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games on Wednesday returned home.
They were received by scores of well-wishers, who sang and danced to welcome them.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Mr Sunday Dare and top management staff of the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, members of the Supporters club, the sporting press, and family members, were also on hand to welcome the athletes.
At a brief reception held at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, the Sports Minister represented by the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Ismaila Abubakar, thanked the athletes for representing and making Nigeria proud at the Birmingham Games.
He assured the athletes that a bigger reception will be held for them when all other members of the Team Nigeria to the Games return home.
“I would like to thank Almighty God for making it possible for you to return back home safely. We thank Mr President for making it possible for us to participate at the Commonwealth Games, we are very happy and on behalf of the Minister and the entire staff of the Ministry.
“I’m happy that you were able to win many medals for the first in the history of this nation. We are therefore grateful because you made us proud, it shows that you conducted yourselves well and as a result of which you were able to conquer the world, win plenty medals, thank you very much.
“As a Ministry, a lot of hard work and resources were committed and, as you can see, that translated into the victory we have achieved at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
“Like I said, this is happening for the first time in the history of this nation, we are therefore proud of you and we are ready more than ever before to give our athletes all the support you may require so that you will continue to soar higher and higher in the subsequent sporting activities that will come up. I want to congratulate you for the way and manner you conducted yourselves which show that the spirit of Nigeria is in you. You went out and conquer many other athletes that competed with you. Thank you and God bless all of you.
“As you can see, we organised this wonderful reception that is befitting of champions, we have in place a number of programmes that would follow which at this point I cannot divulge but I’m assuming you that you will be recognised in one way or the other. We are expecting one or two contingent coming tomorrow and possibly the day after tomorrow,” Abubakar said.
Team Nigeria achieved its best performance ever in Birmingham since it started taking part in the Commonwealth Games in 1950, winning a total of 35 medals.